fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- ",500,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: WONG SUSAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 17:32:46 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: From Mrs. Susan Wong
>From Mrs. Susan Wong
Dearest in the Lord,
My greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, how are you and your entire ministry, I hope you are doing well. I received your contact information from a Christian website. It is true that we are just knowing each other for the first time, but I strongly believe that God has made it possible.
Please, I want you to give this message your urgent attention and get back to me so that I can give you more information on this. It is by the grace of God that I received Christ, having known the truth, I had no choice than to do what is right and just in the sight of God and man. I thank God for His Mercies, grace and glory upon my life.
Before I give you more information, let me officially introduce myself to you. My name is Mrs Susan Wong, I was married to the late Mr Hector Wong who worked with Cape Verde Embassy in Cote d'Ivoire for nine years before he died in the year 2005. We were married for Sixteen years without a child. He finally came back to Cote d'Ivoire to establish an export company after his retirement. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. After his death, I could no longer manage the exporting company because of my critical health condition.
Before his death we were both born again Christians and we loved God. Since after his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive, he deposited the total sum of US$7,500,000.00 in one of the prime bank here in the country.
The reason why I contacted you is because you are a Christian (servant of God) and I want to donate the money to you because of my health condition. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight months due to cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition, I decided to donate this fund to a church, organization like yours or a Christian that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a church or a Christian that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, charity organizations, NGO anywhere in the World in helping human race and propagating the word of God and to endeavour that the house of God is maintained and to promote the gospel. You can also use part of it to build hospital, schools and houses to rent out to the poor and homeless people at a cheaper cost. I want you to use the money to glorify the name of God.
The Bible made us to understand that "Blessed is the hand that givesâ. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I don't want my husband's efforts to be used by unbelievers and misused. This is why I am taking this decision to donate the money to you because I know that you are a Christian. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I want you to stand as my next of kin and co-beneficiary to receive the money.
I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that "the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace". I want the money to be transferred to your account as soon as possible because of my health condition.
When my late husband deposited the fund, he used my name as the next of kin. All I have to do is to sign an authorization letter in your name as my co-beneficiary and also instruct the bank to transfer the money to you.
As soon as I receive your reply, I shall give you more details on how the money will be transferred to you.
I want you to always put me in your daily prayer. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. I will send you more information when I receive your response. Let me hear from you urgently.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ
Mrs Susan Wong.